Details of licensing process
An anti-gambling coalition government has been in place in Italy since early 2018. However, the previous regime restructured the online gambling licensing framework in the country before leaving power.
The restructuring came into effect in January 2018, before the new coalition was elected. The gaming regulator in Italy is the Agenzia delle Dogane dei Monopoli (ADM). At the time, there was the possibility that as many as 120 online gambling licenses would be issued. These licenses would be effective until December 31, 2022.
They would cover fixed-odds and pooled sports betting, table games, card games, and poker, as well as bingo and fixed-odds betting between players. No provision was made for online lotteries.
The application deadline for these licenses was March 19, 2019, but the ADM handed out a number of licenses before this date. However, the number of applicants was fewer than expected.
That was because the new coalition government introduced a blanket ban on gambling advertising, which included a ban on gambling sponsors for sports teams and events.
It will cost €200,000 ($223,000; £176,000) to obtain a license. If all 120 licenses were issued, it would bring in €24m ($27m; £21.2m).
ADM finalizes procedure
The ADM has been working on new laws for online gambling in Italy. These include stricter anti-money laundering procedures and increasing the requirements of customers when they are signing up for these online platforms.
The regulator has now finalized licenses for 67 new online gambling operators. Near the end of February, licenses for many of the existing license holders were renewed. Among them were Microgame, Eurobet, Sisal, and Snaitech.
Among the 67 new license-holders, global operators such as Betfair, Pokerstars, bwin, bet365, and William Hill can now operate online gambling platforms in the country. A number of new sports betting operators, such as Pinnacle and Smarkets, also received licenses. These licenses brought in a total of €13.4m ($15m; £11.8m).
Stakeholders will be watching closely to see how these new license-holders perform. Near the end of 2018, the coalition government raised taxes on online casino revenue from 20% to 25%. This move was expected to generate an additional €51m ($57m; £45m) annually.
The AMD turned down applications from seven operators. They were Rating Consulting, Play Live Ltd, Rabbit Entertainment, Constitution of B&B online, Goal & Gaming srl, Betclic Ltd, and Pi Piper Ltd.
Goal & Gaming srl has already started the appeal process in the Administrative Court of Rome. It is expected that the other operators that were refused will also appeal.